STRAVA Turns Off Key Features – Welcome to the paywall

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It says 50. It must be true.

STRAVA Leaderboard and more – gone for non-paying users

As of NOW, STRAVA has just taken a dagger to some of its key features and they’re going behind a paywall.

We’ve all long-enjoyed ‘something for nothing‘ from STRAVA. Unfortunately, it looks like that direction of travel is rapidly approaching a dead-end. ie you pay nothing…you get nothing. Well, not as much at any rate.

What Has Happened

STRAVA is releasing some new featurettes and re-announcing some stuff they’ve trickled out recently, in fact, STRAVA claims to have already introduced 50 new features. It’s in the image to the right, so it must be true. Perhaps this will hide from the fact that the following features are now for paying STRAVA users only:

No more web-based route builder – I never liked it anyway.

Finally, the beta ROUTE PLANNER has gone and I see the full glory of the new version where I hope to enjoy a new and better route building experience taking into account elevation gains and surface types. as  you can see in the image above, STRAVA adds in map layers to show the USAGE HEATMAP and NEARBY SEGMENTS, which will be useful for many of you although if I’m interested in HEATMAP info I tend to use the Garmin flavour myself.

The new routing logic can also minimise/maximise elevation and certain surface types…if you want to focus on the steep climbs this will be handy. If you want to AVOID steep climbs it will be equally as handy 😉

EXCEPT you won’t be able to create those kinds of new routes unless you pay for the privilege. Don’t worry, we will all keep the routes we’ve already created, it’s just that you need to be a STRAVA subscriber to create new ones from now on.

There are plenty of free route-building alternatives out there (RwGPS, Garmin, Hammerhead). It’s just the STRAVA-segments and STRAVA-heatmap that are unique to STRAVA.

Here’s an incomplete list of free and freemium route planning tools…if you want to add more, let me know below.

BikeMap https://bikemap.net
BikeRoll https://bikeroll.net
Bike Route Toaster http://bikeroutetoaster.com/
ByCycle http://bycycle.org
cycle.travel https://cycle.travel
GraphHopper https://graphhopper.com/maps/
komoot https://www.komoot.com
Mapmyride http://www.mapmyride.com
MileMeter http://www.gmap-pedometer.com
MyCycleTour http://www.mycycletour.com/
Openrunner https://www.openrunner.com
Plotaroute https://www.plotaroute.com
RideWithGPS http://ridewithgps.com
Runtastic http://runtastic.com
SportRoutePlanner http://www.sportrouteplanner.com
Strava https://www.strava.com
Veloroutes http://veloroutes.org
Naviki https://www.naviki.org
Alltrails https://www.alltrails.com
Brouter https://brouter.de/brouter-web
RouteYou https://www.routeyou.com
Judise https://www.judise.nl
Osmand https://osmand.net/
Hammerhead https://dashboard.hammerhead.io/
Google Maps https://www.google.co.uk/maps/

 

new STRAVA Training

STRAVA’s ‘Head of Naming’ has cleverly renamed STRAVA training features to ‘STRAVA Training’. S/he probably has several tin cans which have written on the side exactly what’s in them.

 

This seems to be a nice place for ‘your stuff’ ranging from a log of your activities to how your current intensity/durations match previous levels and the target levels that STRAVA sets you, I’m sure at least some of that was there before? 😉 Couple that with differing, time-based views of the sports formula “training+recovery=fitness” and this is a sweet little rough-and-ready set of tools for the casual athlete-cum-weekend cyclist. But…..you gotta pay for it.

More serious cyclists & runners will still get all of this kind of information for free, elsewhere eg check out what I wrote here about STRAVISTIX (aka ELEVATE)

Restricted Leaderboards

All the weight-related, age-group related and club-related leaderboard are going behind a paywall. All that’s left for free, public consumption will be the Top 10 Men and Top 10 women leaderboards… that’s it. And they’re pretty useless as everyone reading this is nowhere near the top 10 of any segment anywhere. Me included.

My training club has STRAVA segment competitions so this could be a cunning ruse for STRAVA to drive us all onto their paying tier. Either that or we’ll just do something else instead. Probably the latter.

No App Leaderboards

There were often ways to get certain STRAVA functionalities via apps if you were not a paying user. That’s probably now not possible for leaderboards in apps unless you use Strava Live Segments-like functionality (SLS) on your Polar/Garmin/Wahoo/Karoo/Sigma. Of course, that means you are already a paying customer of SLS and that you can already see the leaderboards in STRAVA…

STRAVA Live Segments – Hammerhead Karoo vs Garmin vs Polar vs Wahoo vs Polar vs Sigma

Matched Runs & Rides

STRAVA sometimes cleverly remembers that I’ve completed today’s training route several times before and handily tells me how I’m slowly getting slower over it as the years go by. Thank you STRAVA, I shall train some more.

This functionality for runs and rides is also destined for the paywall-of-doom.

My Thoughts

If you don’t value something then don’t waste your time using or viewing it. If you see a value in something then pay for it. ‘Value’ is the keyword.

Of course, we all download apps out of curiosity and end up using some of them without paying for the extra bits, or read websites like this without supporting 😉 I don’t know about you, but in those circumstances, I’m perfectly happy to have to watch an ad or two and moan about the ad experience whilst secretly realising it’s necessary.

I think $5 a month for STRAVA is too much for the value I personally get from STRAVA – this website’s use of STRAVA is different and this website pays for STRAVA membership. However, I would have thought the maths behind the STRAVA experience would work far better with an ad model plus a more nominal annual subscription between $5pa and $20pa for the kinds of features we are talking about here.

Don’t kid yourself that your visit to an app or to a website is worth anything much. It will be a fraction of a cent per visit..yet STRAVA has lots repeat visitors and those fractions of cents soon scale to large numbers.

In reality, I don’t think these changes are that earth-shattering to most people’s STRAVA experience. Some, for sure, but not most. I think the danger is that STRAVA will realise that people really don’t value their offering as much as STRAVA think they should. So the revenues don’t come in and then more features go behind the paywall.

Maybe even this will eventually drive the value of STRAVA down to the point where Garmin can buy it, although there’s a very long way to go for that to happen.

A Letter From STRAVA To You

Dear Strava community,

If nothing else, 2020 has been a year of regaining perspective. A silver lining of hard times like these is that they inspire introspection and focus – What matters the most to us? And how do we live up to that?

Our answers to those questions have only gotten clearer in the past few months, and we’re now leading the company with a single purpose: rededicating Strava to our community. We’re obsessing over our athletes – over you – and no one else.

Strava athletes deserve an affordable and constantly improving experience, and we hope you’ve noticed how focused we’ve been this year on delivering that. Our small but mighty team of 180 has released 51 athlete-facing improvements already in 2020, from Apple Watch syncing, to new maps and metrics for snowsports, to a huge update to our Routes features, and a lot more. We’ve also removed some distractions, such as Sponsored Integrations (the closest we’ve ever come to putting ads in the feed). And we returned the option to sort your feed in chronological order. We heard how much that change drove you nuts, and admit it took a really long time to respond.

Dedicating Strava to the community is also a commitment to longevity. We are not yet a profitable company and need to become one in order to serve you better. And we have to go about it the right way – honest, transparent and respectful to our athletes. Our plan puts subscription at the center of Strava.

This means that, starting today, a few of our free features that are especially complex and expensive to maintain, like segment leaderboards, will become subscription features. And from now on, more of our new feature development will be for subscribers – we’ll invest the most in the athletes who have invested in us. We’ve also made subscription more straightforward by removing packs and the brand of Summit. You can now use Strava for free or subscribe, simple.

This focus on subscription ensures that Strava can serve athletes decades from now, and in an up-front way that honors the support of the athletes we serve today. We plan to take what we earn from these changes and reinvest straight back into building more and better features – not devising ways to fill up your feed with ads or sell your personal information. We simply want to make a product so good that you’re happy to pay for it.

We think that $5 a month for Strava is money well spent. But we also know, especially lately, that there are athletes struggling to make ends meet and that the free version of Strava must remain high quality and useful. Rest assured that we will always offer a version of Strava for free, and you belong in this community whether you subscribe or not. We’re betting all our chips on you, either way. We hope you’ll bet on us.

We are beyond grateful for your business and your support, and thrilled to recommit ourselves entirely to you, our fellow athletes.

See you out there,

Mark and Michael

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Igor Ramadas

Only segment data is omitted on the API from now on. You should still be able to get activity details, coordinates etc.

It still sucks, but not as much.

KG

A bit of a shame matched runs have gone, I mean that’s my data. I dont care much for other peoples data like leader boards and fair enough for the segments and route building to be premium.

I’ve tried strava subscription many times but it never seems to offer anything compelling. I much prefer Garmin connect these days which seems to offer most features.

inSyt

I agree with you about matched runs. It seems like they want to offer no free analysis. GAP is probably gonna be gone soon?

Personally, I feel like the writing was on the wall for free users when they released the weather data point as a paid only feature. Everyone gives weather away for free. There’s even a 3rd party plugin that gives it away for free on Strava.

I also do not get why they cannot monetize Strava with ads or merchandise? It’s like the perfect platform for such monetizing. Even running, a relatively cheap sport, needs shoes that need to replaced periodically. They can even sell ads and merchandise without spamming them in the feed, For example, they could include them in the notifications they send out when your equipment has reached a certain mileage. They could also sell peloton style workout videos in the analysis sections of the website. Want to improve, try this workout, or try this at this gym? What about a streaming service that only offers media that’s suitable during workouts?

inSyt

Is it just me or is GAP no longer available for free users?

tfk, the5krunner

oh! very naughty of them. thank you very much for the head’s up. has it gone from your mobile too?

Edwina Keats

I’ve asked numerous times for Strava support to fix my duplicate account. Maybe I’ll start using Garmin Connect more in the future. Unbelievable the non-support at Strava!

Stromz

Interesting that they quoted you a price in the mail you received. All mine said was “cost of a couple of energy bars a month” w the rest of the verbiage the exact same.

Clicking on the details link, can’t find a price quoted anywhere on the site either. Strava provides very little value to me outside of keeping up w friends/trail buddies. Free version it is.

Raul V

With upcoming economical crisis there won’t be millions of people going for it. Maybe they will try to have people sign up for a year.

RiphRaph

Meh. I couldn’t care less about segments or leaderboards and while I did use the route builder, I always found it buggy. But I did like the matched runs feature and I’m sorry to lose it.

Not €5 per month sorry, though. You’re right that Strava is overpriced. The argument that €1 per week isn’t much is correct on the face of it, but Strava isn’t the only paid subscription service on the internet — not even the only sports-related one. And €1 per week adds up pretty quick if one subscribes to several services.

If they were asking €1 per month I’d be on board. And I imagine so would quite a lot of other free users.

As it is — I hear there’s a thing called Golden Cheetah. Would you by any chance have a link to a “getting started” tutorial up your sleeve?

KG

I will try Golden Cheeta. Thanks. For the suggestion. I used to use “Ascent” for os X which would log runs and show ghost runs from activity over a map so you could visualise pacing strategy. It is no longer developed and womt work with 64-bit osX.

I do see value in having data in the cloud too but garmin connect ticks a lot of boxes for me. I did pay towards “elevate” and “veloviewer”. At the moment, trailing “runalyse”

I still see my training log history (20 May) on strava android & desktop. I thought they were taking that away too or am I missing something?

RiphRaph

I suspect it’s just taking time for the restrictions to percolate through to all accounts? I can still see my matched runs for the moment, at any rate.

Looks like Golden Cheetah has a learning curve like a sheer cliff. Googling around for a beginner’s guide, the best I could find was a page now only available via the Wayback Machine. Not sure whether I can add links here, so I’ll do it the long way round: go to web dot archive dot org and search for www dot beredatraining dot com slash golden-cheetah.

Haven’t had time to come to grips with it yet and not sure whether it’ll provide something like the matched runs feature, though.

As for shoe tracking, I see that PowerCenter is now starting to support that, so this is one less thing to be dependent on Strava for. 🙂

tfk, the5krunner

you will have your history
let me know what you think of runalyse, i have heard good things and was thinking of using that for my own data. i think you will find golden cheetah too complex

Wouter

I have been working with Golden Cheetah for a few years now. It’s a great tool, my main one for analysing workouts. Strava I use mainly for seeing what my friends are doing. Golden Cheetah takes quite a bit of time to learn though. So, prepare to invest some hours if you decide to go there. Once there it gives you a wealth of analysis capabilities.

Some good getting started guides are made by the GC main developer Mark Liversedge:

Here is the Golden Cheetah wiki
https://github.com/GoldenCheetah/GoldenCheetah/wiki/UG_Main-Page_Users-Guide

RiphRaph

Thank you — that looks very helpful. I’ve had a cursory look at GC but the initial impression is a little overwhelming! Will keep tinkering, but it may be rather more than what I’m really looking for. 🙂

William Morgan

I’ve signed up for 1yr just to see how it goes.

Anyway, within my circle the most valued feature is the community. Seeing friends activities and commenting on then accounts for 90% of what Strava is used for. Segments are fun – the icing on the cake. The data analysis etc, if you’re that kind of runner then there are better platforms out there.

For too long Strava gave too many features away for free. So it feels OK now they’re asking people to pay for it.

Are You Surprised

Last time you mentioned a Strava feature being moved behind the paywall I asked a rhetorical question along the lines of:

How much longer until Strava is unusable because all key features require payment?

I don’t think you ever answered me, because the question was really tongue in cheek but now I all you an honest question.
Should I remove all my devices from uploading to Strava at this point? I use other apps (I actually have 3 that aggregate my fitness data) so I’m wondering if cutting off Strava from my data would be smart.

Thank you.
PS I don’t dislike the new site, I think it’s good but I’m still getting used to it. Newest articles are somewhat hard to find on mobile

tfk, the5krunner

thank you.
yes I know the newest articles are hard to find on mobile. …i just dont know how to change it 🙂 you would have thought it would be simple #sigh
sorry, i do normally answer questions
this is a radical year of chnge for STRAVA. we’ve seen a lot of new free features and now we see features going behind the paywall.
i think strava is still very usable
in the end the paid-for features that appeal to each of us will have different importance

my answer is
1. hold off until the end of the year…see what the future direction of travel is for new features
2. strava MUST always have a degree of usefulness for free users otherwise the segments lose relevance.

Ronald

I am by no means an expert but I would say that for the social part of Strava, they need the critical mass of (free) users to “fill” the leaderboards. If they would only have paying users there will be so much less people that the fun of leaderboards is going away. (I see this for myself, being a runner with only very few strava users running on segments in my neighborhood. No sense of moving up/down etc).

As for tracking your results there are plenty of free / cheaper alternatives starting with the platforms of your watch / bike computer or 3rd parties like runalyze.com (happy user here).

tfk, the5krunner

indeed so.

RiphRaph

I may be well on the way to becoming a happy Runalyse user myself! Is there an easy way to obtain something akin to Strava’s “view matched runs” graph there? Because that’s the only Strava feature I’m actually going to miss. Don’t even know how objectively useful it is, but I like it.

Ronald

Hi, not that I’m aware of.

Stromz

Yes but requires a bit of manual work. There is a route section for each activity that can be updated. You can then go back and see a summary based on routes as well as search for activities by a given route (the search functionality on Runalyze is pretty awesome).

It will also auto tag routes by location but I’ve found I like to be a bit more specific.

Michael (Runalyze)

– Not yet. There is a long list of requested features (we don’t have a full public list of them yet).
It’s always just a matter of time. We are just two developers at Runalyze, who push development alongside our full-time jobs. (In the hope that more people will move up to the Supporter subscription model and we can work full time on Runalyze so that we can implement more features)

RiphRaph

Oh hi! Thanks for speaking up, and I quite understand your time constraints under the circumstances. I’m still very far down on the learning curve, but I’m really liking what I’m seeing so far and I may very well opt for the subscription option once I’ve got a better feel for the site. Looks like you’re providing a lot more quality functionality than Strava without all the stuff that I personally find irrelevant or outright annoying. 🙂

ArT

I will pay max $ 5 a month, but not $ 8 too much. Unfortunately. I don’t care about the annual fee.

Chris

Is there a routing app that can minimise/maximise elevation?

flokon

My annual Summit sub is running out come July, and I won’t renew it. I only use Strava to check in on a couple of pro runners like Sage Canaday, Jack Raynor or Will Lear, which the free version is enough for. Heck, I haven’t even uploaded any of my runs for like half a year now. Main reasons are that the “training” features are half-baked or unusable (like weekly intensity, monthly fitness) for serious training, and I don’t care about (read: hate) the social side of the platform like segments, plugs from companies, and the like. I’m well served with TP Premium, and Runalyze (paying supporter).

Did I understand correctly, that once the “all-access” subscription model hits, devices that support segments (FR935, 945, Fenix, Vantage V et cet.) won’t show them anymore unless you’re a paying subscriber? Didn’t companies pay Strava (and in return the customer by purchasing a more expensive device) so their top models can have that feature?

tfk, the5krunner

strava live segments is currently a paid for feature

andrew

Like many others leaderboards are of no interest to me, but particularly irritating is putting the training log behind a paywall which I use for looking at weekly mileages. You can still add it up for yourself if you select ‘my activities’ or find it on Garmin if you look hard enough.